Texas Water Resources Committee:
An Inventory of Water Resources Committee Meeting Files at the Texas State Archives, 1954, 1956-1957
The Texas Water Resources Committee, a joint committee of the Texas Legislature, worked in the 1950s to develop a long-range water policy and conservation program for the state in response to the emergency caused by recurrent drought which had depleted surface and ground water reserves in Texas. The committee was created in 1953 (House Bill 487, 53rd Texas Legislature, Regular Session) to exist for a period of four years after the effective date of the legislation, through August 1957. The committee collected data for a thorough and complete water resources inventory and reported every six months to the governor and to the legislature with its recommendations. After the committee expired, its official records were transferred to the Texas State Board of Water Engineers, later renamed the Texas Water Commission (House Bill 12, 57th Legislature, 3rd Called Session).
The committee was charged with compiling water resources studies already made by state (Texas Water Code Committee, Texas Legislative Council, Texas State Board of Water Engineers), federal (U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. Corps of Engineers, U.S. Soil Conservation Administration), and university (University of Texas, A&M College of Texas) bodies; professional organizations (Texas Section of the American Society of Civil Engineers, Texas Water Conservation Association); public health authorities; and any other entities with information on water policy and conservation, to provide the legislature with aggregated data for the purpose of forming legislation to improve water conservation efforts. This research supplemented the meetings and hearings held by the committee, which gathered testimony about the condition of water resource management in Texas and allowed exchange of ideas among professionals and researchers in water resource fields such as engineering and geology.
The Water Resources Committee consisted of nine members, each serving a two-year term: three citizens named by the governor and confirmed by the senate, three senators appointed by the lieutenant governor, and three representatives named by the speaker of the house. Initial members were Senators Dorsey B. Hardeman (chair), John Junior Bell, and Jimmy Phillips; Representatives Jessy F. Gray, John Kimbrough, and James R. Paxton (vice-chair); O.G. McClaine, geologist; Marvin C. Nichols, engineer; and E.H. Klein, a mayor of Amarillo (1949-1953) who had secured water rights for the city from surrounding counties.
According to the committee's reports to the legislature and audit reports from the Texas Office of the State Auditor, several meetings were held in the first two fiscal years (FY) of the committee's existence, FY 1954 (September 1953-August 1954) and FY 1955; seven meetings were held in FY 1956; and at least five meetings were held in FY 1957. In August 1955 the committee reported to the legislature that four of its proposed measures had been enacted into law during the 54th Legislature, Regular Session: the Water District Reporting Act (House Bill 27), the Water Users Registration Act (House Bill 41), the Anti-Oil Field Polluting Act (Senate Bill 4), and the Federal Projects Hearings Act (House Bill 11).
(Sources include: the enabling legislation, 1953; Texas Water Resources Committee report to the legislature, August 26, 1955; Texas Office of the State Auditor audit reports on the Water Resources Committee, 1957, 1959; and the records themselves.)
The Texas Water Resources Committee, a joint committee of the Texas Legislature, worked in the 1950s to develop a long-range water policy and conservation program for the state in response to the emergency caused by recurrent drought which had depleted surface and ground water reserves in Texas. Records of the committee consist of meeting transcripts, 1954, 1956-1957, and a statement by High Plains Underground Water Conservation District No. 1, submitted at a meeting held January 9, 1956. The 1954 meeting heard witness testimony from the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, the Texas State Board of Water Engineers, the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Corps of Engineers, and the U.S. Soil Conservation Service. Subsequent meetings included witnesses from industry, municipalities, soil and water conservation entities, and meteorological, agricultural, and water recreation groups. The official records of the committee, which were transferred to the Texas State Board of Water Engineers, later renamed the Texas Water Commission, are not among that commission's records held at the State Archives.
Restrictions on Access
Materials do not circulate, but may be used in the State Archives search room. Materials will be retrieved from and returned to storage areas by staff members.
Restrictions on Use
Most records created by Texas state agencies are not copyrighted and may be freely used in any way. State records also include materials received by, not created by, state agencies. Copyright remains with the creator. The researcher is responsible for complying with U.S. Copyright Law (Title 17 U.S.C.).
(Identify the item), Texas Water Resources Committee meeting files. Archives and Information Services Division, Texas State Library and Archives Commission.
Accession numbers: 2006/066, 2011/207
These records were transferred to the Archives and Information Services Division of the Texas State Library and Archives Commission by the Texas Legislative Reference Library on October 19, 2005, and February 17, 2011.
Processed by Rebecca Romanchuk, March 2009
Correction made to Related Materials, and new accession added by Rebecca Romanchuk, June 2011
Detailed Description of the Records